Ruby Dee And The Snakehandlers
"Miles From Home"

(Dionysus Records 2008)Ruby Dee And The Snakehandlers - Miles From Home

"Miles from Home" is a solid Southern rock album. If I were coordinating a rockabilly-themed wedding and was handed "Miles From Home," I might seriously consider hiring Ruby Dee and the Snake Handlers to be the house band. Along with serviceable originals like "Round and Round" and "Drunk Talk," I'm sure Ruby Dee could belt out a few Johnny Cash numbers and "Crazy" for the first newlywed dance.

"Miles from Home" is marketed as an "alternative country" album in its press materials and on a sticker on the CD cover. But goldarnit they sound nothin' like Wilco or Palace Brothers! (Then again, do you really want Willy Oldham playing at your wedding? He'd probably get all fucked up and upchuck on a bridesmaid.)

Ruby Dee, on the other hand, (I surmise) has a very presentable stage presence, and her formidable backing band know exactly when to go from bridge back to chorus and when to settle down for the Best Man's toast. There are slide guitars on this record, lap steels, lots of reverb and tremolo. The drummer makes cool sounds, like the train is coming into the station.

"Miles from Home" is tastier than a pile of deep-fried cattle pies. If I ever used a treadmill, an appearance of a song by Ruby and her Snakehandlers during an hour-long shuffle workout wouldn't completely suck. As long as it's not the one that's four and a half minutes.

A

buy it!